ASHBURN — A family-owned doughnut shop in Ashburn is asking for help to fix their store after a driver crashed into the building, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
D&D’s Place is beloved by locals and has won awards for its doughnuts. Owners Devell and Lolita Brittmon are known for their positivity and for caring deeply about their customers and the community. But so far, they’ve only been able to raise about $1,000 of a $7,500 goal for shop repairs through an online campaign.
On Aug. 11, the husband-and-wife team were working at their shop at 8324 S. Kedzie Ave. when the driver of a cargo van crashed into the front of the building.
“People had just left out of the store before the driver came flying down the street. Both my wife and I were inside. She was in the front and I was in the back making icings. I heard a big bang and ran to the front,” Devell said.
No one was injured in the crash, but it caused nearly $8,000 in damage to the building, which is owned by the Brittmons. The driver, who was cited by police, did not have insurance or a driver’s license.
The Brittmons were on the hook for the damage, but because it’s the third time D&D has been the victim of misfortune in the past few years, Devell said they decided not to make a claim on their business insurance.
“To mess with the insurance company after a couple times, they’ll be like, ‘OK, wait a minute.’ Then your premiums will go up and after awhile if you have too many things, they’ll drop you,” Devell said.
The troubles started last year, when someone broke into the shop, Devell said.
Shortly after that, bad luck struck again when someone broke into the shop, damaged items and stole a cash register that was intentionally left open to show no money was inside.
In response to the Aug. 11 crash, the Brittmons’ two daughters, Crystal and Marcia, created a GoFundMe campaign to help the business.
Despite the damage, Devell and Lolita have been able to keep operating, with hours adjusted because of the pandemic. They are open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
On the GoFundMe page, Crystal and Marcia Brittmon write that the Black-owned business opened in March 2014 and has blossomed into Chicago’s best doughnut shop.
Indeed, in January 2018, D&D’s earned the coveted People’s Choice fan favorite award at Donut Fest Chicago over large chains like Stan’s and Firecakes. That win put D&D’s on the map for people outside of Ashburn — but it’s the friendly customer service and doughnuts that have kept people coming back. They followed up with wins in 2019 and 2020 as well.
As described in a 2018 Block Club Chicago story, Devell is a man of faith who is usually in the back, mixing up ingredients and baking love into more than two dozen varieties, while Lolita works the front, greeting each customer with a smile and friendly words.
“You go in for a doughnut, you leave out with a prayer. What we care about is your soul. We reach out to those that are hurting,” Lolita said at the time. “People from all walks of life come here. You never know what life you might touch with a smile. I had a customer say, ‘You don’t even know me, and you felt my pain.'”
Each customer who walks into D&D’s is welcomed by Lolita with a, “Hey beautiful, how are you doing?”
“I’ve seen a person come in looking mean as a bull and when she’s done with them, they’re smiling,” Devell said.
It’s that type of positivity and joy that Devell knows will get them through this latest obstacle, but he also hopes the public takes note and can donate a few dollars to help.
In response to one donation, Devell summed up his feelings on D&D’s Facebook page, writing, “We Glorify God for covering us from Tragedy but the damages are severe and we need help. If you can, please donate to help us repair the damages. God bless you…Love you!!”